Serving Outside the Church Walls

When first entering the ministry as a pastor’s wife, I was clueless as to what was expected of me.  I had been in church all my life. I was raised Catholic, converted to a Baptist at the age of 28 and then upon marrying Earl at the age of 36, I became a Presbyterian.

Though as a Baptist I had served in numerous roles from being the church sexton to the treasurer, as a pastor’s wife, I was puzzled by my role and what might be unspoken assumptions by the congregation as to my responsibilities.

As time went by, I began teaching VBS, teaching Sunday school classes from middle school through high school, women’s bible classes and adult Sunday school.  I’ve been moderator of women’s groups, bible moderator and also the coordinator of women’s gatherings.  I’ve opened my house to the entire church family for Christmas lunch, sang in church choirs and even catered the women’s annual Valentine Banquet.

But one of the most fulfilling aspects for me of being a pastor’s wife has been in finding service projects for the women to do for others outside our church family and in our local community.

There are ministries within the church of which I am very involved.  I love women’s groups, and I make sure that I am a part of at least one woman’s circle.  I always participate in a Sunday school class; I never cease to learn something as we delve into Scripture, no matter how many times I’ve read through the Bible.  And I consider part of my church ministry to host members by inviting them to our home so that Earl and I can get to know our church family a little more personally.

But  I am also involved in more outreach in the community.  I feel that it is of the utmost importance for a pastor’s wife to also make sure she understands and gets to know her community.  The people within the proximity of the church are part of our local outreach.

James Island is right over the Charleston Harbor connector.  There is an organization that started in 1989 after Hurricane Hugo hit the island, called the James Island Outreach.   I was introduced to this little non-profit by our churches volunteer team-leader to the Outreach.  Our church is known as the pasta church.  We provide mainly canned or dried pasta to the Outreach.  We are one of 15 churches on the island that supports the Outreach.  The Outreach is basically a food pantry and provides some assistance in other areas as well.

An opportunity was announced at our church that the Outreach was looking for Saturday volunteers on the first and fourth Saturdays of each month.  I volunteered for the fourth Saturday.  In so doing, I found that our little island had a lot of hungry folks who desperately needed to experience the compassionate sharing hand of God from their fellow islanders.  I eventually went from being a volunteer to also being a member of the Board of Directors and was asked to fill the Treasurer’s seat.

I took an in house class to learn how to in-take clients so I could work the office when needed on those Saturdays that I volunteered.  This has now become a very large part of my ministry here on James Island.  I have never had a client turn me down when asked if I could pray for them during our time together.  Our director, Reverend Joseph Barbour, opens each day with prayer with our volunteers.  God is here, working through our churches, to help all those in need.  And personally, I believe all believers need to find that community outreach that calls them to volunteer their time and to help their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and those who do not know Christ through their trials.  All people are God’s created children.

Get to know your community, its needs and its people.  It’s important to all Christians, but most importantly to the pastor’s wife, in order to better serve her community, her church, her husband, and most importantly, God.

Matthew 25:40 “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

If you feel so led, please volunteer your time or donate food or funds to:  

The James Island Outreach

1853 Maybank Highway

Charleston, SC 29412

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